Noozhawk: Santa Barbara Public Market Booming with New Restaurants, Art Exhibits

It’s Wednesday night at the Santa Barbara Public Market, and there’s not a seat easily to be found.

About 100 people are packed into the common dining area toward the back, cheering and pumping their fists to the women’s World Cup game broadcast on several TV screens.

Whether it’s the beer garden, the restaurants or the outdoor parklets, the Public Market is bursting with the kind of energy and life that downtown Santa Barbara is spending a lot of time trying to create.

Under new ownership in 2021, the Public Market has emerged as one of Santa Barbara’s premiere hangouts for dinner, drinks and dessert — and it’s just getting going.

The Santa Barbara Public Market is booming with activity and plans new restaurants and an art gallery. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The Public Market recently announced two new restaurants and the display of art inside the building, at 38 W. Victoria St.

Three Monkeys, a spinoff of Empty Bowls, opened in April, and a new authentic Jewish deli is set to open soon.

Three Monkeys is owned by Nui Pannak, the chef and owner of the Empty Bowl restaurant in the market.

“Pannak’s consistently evolving menu at Three Monkeys is inspired by street food favorites from her native Thailand as well as Vietnam,” a news release stated. “Offerings include an assortment of skewered meats, chicken satay, Bangkok grilled beef (neua ping) and the Thai-style grilled pork (moo ping).”

Another new restaurant will open soon in the market, a Jewish deli.

“Bringing a top-quality deli to the Market has been part of our plan from the beginning, but we have taken our time finding the right operator,” Public Market owner Travis Twining said. “We are very excited about this new tenant. There’s nothing quite like it the Santa Barbara area, let alone downtown.”

Art Gallery Inside

In addition to the new restaurants, a permanent art exhibit is coming to the Santa Barbara Public Market.

“After an initial trial phase, the intention is to create a permanent exhibition space, for the benefit of both local artists and the community,” a news release stated. “In that spirit, for the time being at least, no fees/commissions will be burdened upon the artists.”

Currently, the Public Market is displaying the works of Chadillac, Delmar León, Johnny Onionseed and Kelly Clause.

A variety of artists from up and down the South Coast are being contacted, and there are already artists waiting to be part of the next rotation, according to the news release.

[For leasing inquiries at Santa Barbara Public Market, contact Francois DeJohn.]